This year, AGU will implement a new path for interdisciplinary collaboration at Fall Meeting. After reviewing the scientific program, we have identified, linked, and organized select sessions from the various sections into themes. These themes, called SWIRLs, will provide Fall Meeting attendees with the opportunity to take an interdisciplinary “walk through the week.”

For 2012, the AGU Program Committee identified three SWIRL themes: (1) Characterizing Uncertainty, (2) Dust and Aerosols, and (3) Subduction. Sessions included in the SWIRLs are marked with an asterisk¬†(“*”) in the Scientific Program.¬†In the program book, SWIRLS will be marked using the graphics below. Search the SWIRL sessions.

Here is a brief summary of topics included in each SWIRL theme:

graphic icon representing the Characterizing Uncertainty SWIRL theme for Fall Meeting 2012Characterizing Uncertainty: It is important to recognize that uncertainty has at least two different aspects that are important for interdisciplinary science. One is the analytical and numerical quantification of uncertainty, such as the variability of observed results compared to simulated results, how we estimate model bias or error, and the difference in model outcomes that do and do not include critical processes in their framework. The other is that qualitative uncertainty is a significant component in our understanding of issues like evaluating decision criteria that can be used when implementing new policy or infrastructure and social/cultural responses to new and existing policies. This SWIRL theme will include sessions that discuss the quantification of uncertainty as well as qualitative assessments of legal issues and strategies for science communications.

graphic icon representing the Dust and Aerosols SWIRL theme for Fall Meeting 2012Dust and Aerosols: Natural and human contributions of dust and aerosols are critical to understanding climate and Earth system dynamics. In addition, dust and aerosols are important for understanding the atmospheric dynamics on other planets, such as Mars, Venus, the Moon, and other orbiting bodies, as well as contributions to deep Earth dynamics in volcanic systems with regard to tephrochronology and pyroclastic investigations into tracing volcanic eruptions. This SWIRL theme provides a path for: the paleo past; contributions to the atmosphere, including contemporary regional monsoonal, high-latitude, south Asian and African dust and aerosol generation and transport; planetary evolution; the Rosetta encounter; and how dust and aerosols contribute to our understanding of processes and mechanisms in volcanology.

graphic icon representing the Subduction SWIRL theme for Fall Meeting 2012Subduction: Subduction is an important component of understanding how and why the Earth moves in response to planetary pressures and the consequences to human systems. This SWIRL theme embraces the multiscale nature of subduction through convective systems, seismic anisotropy and plate tectonics, mechanistic attribution of the role of fluid dynamics in terrestrial and extraterrestrial processes, as well as risk and geohazards and the vulnerability of cities on subduction thrusts.